Virtualizing Conservation

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  • Title: Virtualizing Conservation: Reflections on Conservation Theory
  • Author(s): Eleni Kotoula
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Inclusive Museum
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum
  • Keywords: Conservation, Digital, Technology
  • Volume: 10
  • Issue: 3
  • Year: 2017
  • ISSN: 1835-2014 (Print)
  • ISSN: 1835-2022 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Kotoula, Eleni . 2017. "Virtualizing Conservation: Reflections on Conservation Theory." The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum 10 (3): 23-47. doi:10.18848/1835-2014/CGP/v10i03/23-47.
  • Extent: 25 pages


This article addresses to what extent computer applications contribute to museum conservation objectives, defined as the balance of preservation, investigation, and display of artifacts. It evaluates novel two- and three-dimensional digitization technologies for enhanced examination and recording. It provides case studies on alternative digital conservation methodologies for conservation operations. It approaches the coexistence of physical and digital artifacts critically within the museum environment. It explores the nature and transformations introduced in the theoretical frameworks for conservation and the interrelationships formed between traditional museum practices, conservation objectives, and computer applications. Results indicate that the proposed methodologies alter the dynamics of conservation. Digital techniques manage to balance between the core ideas of conservation. These are potentially initial steps for a new subdiscipline that will focus on virtualization of conservation practice, rather than digitization of artifacts.